Northeast "Snowtober" Damage Mounts; FEMA a Non-Starter; Army Corps Demands Funding for Flood Repair
November 1, 2011 • 10:20AM

The damage toll continues in the Northeastern states, from the weekend's early, heavy snowfall, which set records in many localities. Close to 4 million households were without electricity at the peak of the storm, and hundreds of thousands will remain out of power all week. Anything requiring electricity, from railroad signal systems, to gas station pumps, was hit, or threatened with closure. Hospitals have gone on emergency power from back-up generators, while households and whole communities are, in effect, "on their own," without electricity. In Massachusetts as of midday, 1,300 residents were still being cared for in 38 shelters. In New Hampshire, 240 are in shelters, with more expected to seek lodging, the longer power outages continue.

The "Snowtober" event manifests weather extremes, which are now to be expected, given the hyperactive condition of the planet under galactic dynamics. But the storm's harmful aftermath results from allowing Obama to continue in the White House, and from not replacing the dead monetarist system with a credit system to build and protect the nation.

Today, Northeast governors announced appeals for Federal emergency designation. New Hampshire's Gov. John Lynch is making his third such disaster aid request this year. Massachusetts' Gov. Deval Patrick made his third request in just four months, after June's tornado damage, and late August's Hurricane Irene.

But what can they expect to get from the Federal government under Obama? Pretense, at best. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is now so underfunded, it is a non-starter for mounting the scale of assistance required. Look at what happened in August in the Eastern states. In order for FEMA to be prepared for Hurricane Irene, $500 million in prior post-disaster commitments were put on hold nationwide, including rebuilding in New Hampshire and Massachusetts from the 2008 ice storm!

Now the sequence of storm episodes is speeding up—from August's Hurricane Irene to September's Tropical Storm Lee to October's Heavy Snow—but FEMA is going nowhere. Even FEMA reimbursement for heavy-snow removal for critical pathway sites, such as roads to hospitals, is currently on the list for non-funding, according to the budget-cutting fanatics associated with Obama's Super-Congress.

Other Federal agencies responsible for physical economic security are likewise underfunded. On Oct. 27, the Army Corps of Engineers appealed to the Senate, that they must have at least $1 billion just to fund the rebuilding of levees and other flood-control structures in the Mississippi-Missouri River systems, and they need the funding "as of yesterday," to even try to be ready for the next round of flooding.

Back East, the particulars of this latest storm manifest the new norm, unless Obama is moved aside and a new Glass-Steagall-anchored financial system is established.

Power outages: All across the Nor'easter storm path, power lines were downed from the heavy snow, even though fewer utility poles toppled, as compared with the 2008 ice storms. In most cases, crews from electric companies have deployed rapidly, and in some cases heroically, but after 30 years of Enron-era deregulation of utilities, the companies don't maintain proper redundancy of staff and equipment to handle disasters. In money terms, it isn't "worth it."

Private survival contingencies have turned deadly for many households. Dozens of hospitalizations are reported from carbon monoxide poisoning, mostly from faulty use of portable power generators, and makeshift heating and lighting attempts. In recent years, the deregulated power companies have advised households to install private home generators, as part of their do-for-self, go-green dumbing down of the public.

Flooding: In areas of rapid melting, flooding has occurred again, for the third time in three months. In New Jersey, Route 30 and others had sections closed from sudden run-off. All across New England, sections of roads have closed from fallen trees, and other storm damage.

Under a real Federal-response program, in the spirit of FDR's New Deal perspective, the post-storm Northeast would be already be humming with CCC-brigades, under the leadership of the Army Corps of Engineers, National Guard, and Red Cross, to clear debris, save lives, and rebuild. Make way by clearing aside Obama.